I was born in PHX, have lived in the SW all of my life and had dogs in AZ, NM and NV.
I would say the biggest issue with animals in the SW is the heat in certain areas of AZ and NV and the winters in northern and central NM.
Making sure they have plenty of water, both to drink and play in, and a well ventilated shelter to get out of the sun in the hot areas is very important.
We get snow in the Albuquerque area in the winter and even though not much it can get very cold. So good warm shelter or keep them indoors.
I've never had a problem with ticks or fleas (in the desert and high desert areas) and only use frontline when going camping in the woods.
Never had a problem with worms either. However, I do have their stools tested.
Never had a problem with heart worm and don't personally know anyone who has. But it seems to be more common here in ABQ (according to my vet friend) than in PHX.
Never had a problem with Valley Fever but know people who have lost animals to it. Also, humans are susceptible to Valley Fever.
We do have lots of scorpions, centipedes and black widows. Keeping common areas clean, not keeping cut wood close to the house or dog areas, and using a bug guy once a month takes care of most of that problem. We still get the occasional scorpion or centipede in the house, which gets stomped into the ceramic tile upon site.
I saw lots of rattle snakes in AZ but have never had an animal bitten. New Mexico also has a lot of rattle snakes but I have never seen one here in ABQ (just been lucky I guess). Also because Cisco is in training to be a wilderness search dog, I will be getting him snake proofed at some point.
As for the poop drying out quicker.....Sorry had to laugh at that one......and agree with Bhaugh......adding.....only if you leave it on the ground for weeks, will it dry out and blow away :)
The only other thing I can think of is.......because of the arid condition and high altitude here in ABQ......I am more aware of potential eye problems, pannis specifically, and have both my dogs eyes checked every year.